Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nirma directed to stop work on new cement plant

Mar 13, 2011

Environment Ministry directed immediate halt to work on three projects on a wetland in Gujarat being carried out by Nirma Ltd for allegedly violating green norms.

The decision was taken on the basis of a report by Experts Appraisal Committee (EAC), which found violation of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 by the projects being set up in a wetland in Gujarat\'\'s Bhavnagar district.

The Ministry ordered \"permanent suspension of work\" regarding 1.91 million tonne per annum capacity cement plant, along with its captive power and coke oven plant near Padhiarka village in Bhavnagar district.

The EAC, in its report, cited the \"fragile nature\" of the wetland where the projects are being set up. It recommended the stop work to avoid further damage to the wetland.

Observing that no wetland, preserved by the government for a better eco-system, could be razed to build a cement plant, the Ministry also directed the company to respond as to \"why the environmental clearance accorded to the project should not be revoked and stoppage of the work not be made permanent.\"

The Ministry, however, allowed a personal hearing for Nirma Limited on March 16 or 17 before making work stoppage permanent.

Environmental clearance given for the cement plant and other projects was challenged by green activists in the Gujarat High Court and a Special Leave Petition was filed before the Supreme Court.

The EAC concluded that the company could construct a cement plant on an alternative site that does not impact the wet land.

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